Charleston moves closer to new bike share operator
City has three more months to find next operator
Charleston officials on Wednesday restricted the next potential operators to the city’s bike-sharing program, the latter two being a startup and one of the largest bike and scooter-sharing companies in the world.
The city of Charleston put out a tender over the summer to operate the city’s bike-sharing program, as the existing deal with Gotcha comes to an end in November. Over time, a three-month extension was added to that contract to extend the operation of the current program in Charleston until February, said new Charleston transportation manager Robbie Summerfield. City paper.
Six companies submitted bids before the August deadline, including Bolt, the Florida company that acquired Gotcha last year. At the end, Blue Duck Express, Inc. and Neutron Holdings, the parent company of Lime, will both companies be asked to share their plans with the city’s selection committee in person, Summerfield said Thursday.
The self-service bicycle market has evolved since 2014, when Gotcha was launched Sacred rays in Charleston. Electric scooters have grown in popularity across the country, thanks to startups funded by venture capital funds. After trying to scale up operations quickly by dropping scooters in cities out of the blue, some cities, like Charleston, responded by banning them altogether.
The scooter trend seems to have cooled off a bit, in part because easy-to-ride e-bikes – e-bikes and e-bikes – have also grown in popularity as technology has advanced.
Summerfield said the companies are expected to present plans in Charleston in the coming weeks, with the intention of selecting a partner to resume the program in 2022. The committee will primarily assess options for a cycling program, as scooters remain banned. in Charleston. , he said.
“The committee went through there and wanted to preselect him and obtain [the companies] in front of them and check out the bikes, âSummerfield said.
The Charleston program scope included a minimum of 500 bikes from downtown, with the option to expand to West Ashley, Daniel Island and James Island. Electric bikes that go under 20 miles per hour would be considered, according to the city’s RFP. Suppliers would also be required to maintain an app-based system that allows users to check bikes, in the same way Holy Spokes currently works.
Based in San Antonio Blue duck, which recently launched in Spartanburg, offers shared bikes and scooters. The Spartanburg program is the state’s first scooter-sharing program, according to a Blue Duck Press release.
Lime is one of the world’s largest players in the bike and scooter sharing industry, having started out as Limebike and following the scooter trend as it took hold. Lime took a hit during the pandemic – like everything else – which led Google and other investors to pump 150 million dollars in the business last year. A big investment in bikes earlier this year would have caused the company to consider expanding the bikes to 50 cities around the world, according to Streetsblog. Lime does not currently operate in South Carolina.
Neither company has responded to requests for additional information at the time of publication.
Elsewhere in SC, B-Cycle operates in Greenville, while Bolt operates in Columbia.